Saturday, 18 October 2008

Story telling lesson 9th October 08

Today's lesson was based on story telling. To begin the lesson we played a ball game which consisted of the group standing in a circle and throwing the ball to each other. When the ball gets thrown to a person, the person has to say a word relating to the subject that is decided before the game starts. So, for example if the subject is 'community', the person who has caught the ball may say 'togetherness'. If a person drops the ball or hesitates they have to go down onto one knee. To redeem themselves they have to re-catch the ball. This game does not only warm the group up but also gets their imagination going. I think that the game helps to involve the quieter members of the group or maybe in a community the 'outsiders'.

The next exercise consisted of the play 'Overspill' by Ali Taylor. The play was actually written for a competition in Bromley which won and was performed in the Churchill Theatre. 'Overspill' is based on three characters Baron, Finch and Potts who are all twenty years old. It is an extract from a usual Friday night out for the three characters. All three characters share the role of telling their story and they begin to represent themselves. There is a sense of community being a ritual in the play as the three characters ritual of 'We always get Big Macs' gets broken when Potts orders a Fillet O'Fish which causes friction between the characters. This kind of reminds me of when people argue over the most petty of things that to others may not mean anything but a simple thing like the Fillet O'Fish means something major to certain individuals. They are almost a community within a community as they are part of the Bromley community but also part of their three gang Big Mac crew! This community within a community idea comes to light when Baron's girlfriend, Michelle may come to their usual hanging out place (Maccie D's). Michelle is not welcomed when Baron mentions it. Michelle represents the outsider to their community as she is not welcome. In class we had a debate on weather the play was based on a different borough and was changed to Bromley for the competition. If this was true it proves that this type of community can be found in any community in any borough as these characters can be found in society. Me and Bex both live in the borough of Bromley, so in this exercise we were able to relate to the play. I could also picture the location of Maccie D's and Delano's in Bromley, which made the play more authentic for me.

The 12 dancing princesses

Molly told us a story of The 12 dancing princesses and we were told to get comfortable. As Molly was telling the story I could imagine the story and pictured it in my head. Half way through Molly role played a strict teacher and kept telling us off. I was so busy trying to be good and not do anything bad I actually missed a section of the story. Molly also made us do actions to the story which made me move away from the story and stopped me from imagining it in my head. I thought that Molly had shown us that how we tell a story can effect our understanding and enjoyment of it being told. After, Molly had told the story, we had to re-tell it without the book in two ways:

1. Taking it in turns to sit in the chair and re-tell a section of the story until someone shouts stop and takes over on the chair. If the person in the chair told a section of the story wrong another person is allowed to shout stop and retell the wrong section again but correctly. This was quite comical to watch as some people were stuck, so they said things that did not relate to the story. But at the same time it was quite nerve racking to shout stop and take over. With this exercise you have to be careful as there is a danger of people being negative to each other about getting the section of the story correct.

2. Sitting in a circle and telling a section of the story with a few sentences each. This time we were allowed to go away from the 12 dancing princesses which was very funny. I preferred this way as everybody had a chance to tell a section of the story and it was not as scary as you did not have to sit on the chair. When we were sitting in the circle I felt like we were making a team effort to the story whereas when we were scattered around the room and had to shout stop it felt like an individuals story.

I think this exercise is more useful to do with a younger generation as they are not scared to say anything silly and use their imagination as they are less self conscious than an elder generation. I am glad we are learning a range of techniques and exercises that are suitable for various ages as I am still unsure what type of community I would like to work with.

The last exercise was partner work telling each other a memorable night out. The first partner had to tell their story in an interview style and the second partner was free to tell their story. Once both partners had listened to the stories they had to re-tell it back to each other. When I was telling Simona's story back to her I felt conscious that I needed to get everything correct. Simona was really good and patient as she corrected me a few times. I felt that as I interviewed Simona I told the story back in structured chunks and had much factual information on events that happened. When Simona told my story back to me I got really attached to my story and got quite irritated when she did not tell it correctly. She probably thought moody melon! I noticed that Simona telling my story back flowed more than when I told hers back. I think this was due to the story telling styles. I felt very comfortable telling Simona my story as we are good friends but I think if it was someone I did not know as well, I think I would have exaggerated and changed sections of my story to make me feel more comfortable and interesting. It was very interesting when we had the group feed back as most people got attached to their story and exaggerated sections of their story to make it more interesting. I think it was intriguing to see how memorable nights were both positive and negative to various people, there was a real mixture of both. I can now relate to why you should ask permission to use a person's story as I got quite attached to mine.

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